CAIRO, Egypt, Egyptian police killed at least 11 militants on Wednesday, in exchange of fire in the western desert of Egypt, the interior ministry said, in a statement. The shootout erupted while the security forces were combing the remote areas in the western desert in Upper Egypt, where terrorists used to take as hideouts, according to the statement.

The security forces gathered near the mountainous areas in Assiut Province, and broke into the terrorist camps, when they were training to use explosive devices. Five explosive belts, four automatic weapons, three guns and several maps were seized in the raid.

The statement added that, efforts to strike terrorist organisations continue, in order to track down terrorist elements at large, who plot schemes against the country.

“Egypt is currently adopting proactive measures in combating terrorism, instead of defending against actual attacks or security violations,” said Samir Ghats, chairman of the Cairo-based Middle East Forum for Islamic Movements Studies.

Over the past few months, Egypt applied new tactics of combing and searching for terrorists’ possible strongholds, to prevent any assault, which resulted in the killing tens of terrorists, he noted.

The Sinai-based terrorist activities started to gain strength, after the 2013 military ouster of former Egyptian President, Mohammed Morsi, in response to massive protests against his one-year rule. The raid on Wednesday is part of the anti-terror “Comprehensive Operation Sinai 2018” launched in Feb, in which more than 400 militants and over 30 soldiers have so far been killed.